When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

17 July 2009

Nice save, Neil

So I'm in New York City for another hour or two - the car service picked me up right in front of the place I was staying in, right on time, and so I was out of Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge Right. On. Time.

And then we got out on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway - traffic was bad, it's a damned hot day - and the car overheated.

We limped at 15 mph to the Woodhaven Boulevard exit--by some miracle, we weren't rear-ended by a transfer truck doing 70 - and pulled into a gas station.

I was about to call the dispatcher to send me another car, when the universe sent me a Band-Aid (maybe Carrie will explain the origin of this Campbell-Weiner family expression in the comments.)

A medallion cab (Yellow Cab) pulled up to the gas pump. I hurried over and asked the driver if he'd take a fare to JFK once he was finished pumping gas.

The guy - middle-aged Jewish dude, maybe a few years older than me, maybe not - grinned and said, "If you're in a real hurry, I don't even need the gas - just topping the tank off."

I assured him I could wait for him to finish, and bought three bottles of water - one for the hapless car service driver, one for the cab driver who rescued me, and one for me - it's a HOT day out, people.

As I took a closer look at the cab - I realized that it was a Lexus hybrid, brand spanking new.

They don't turn Lexuses into cabs in New York City, y'all.

I asked the driver - "Are you the medallion owner?" (The "medallion" is the license to operate a cab in NYC; it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and 99.9% of cab drivers rent them.)

He grinned again and said "Yes. Get in."

We had a delightful drive to JFK from Woodhaven Boulevard on surface streets with no traffic. Neil, the garrulous owner/driver, had grown up in the area and knew the streets like a farmer knows his field.

I tipped lavishly on a $25 fare to the airport (naturally, I didn't pay the guy whose car broke down a dime...)

Nice save, Neil. I mean that thing.

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